When it comes to car-based television, there is a lot of rubbish out there. A lot of ‘if we don’t sell this car, we lose the shop’ and ‘we need to build this car in three days or the world will end’. You know the thing; forced jeopardy, TV drama, the influence of reality TV in action. It’s all a bit, rubbish. Which is why, in the ever growing world of car TV, we are delighted that Wheeler Dealers stands as a beacon of how to do it right. No forced drama. Just two guys, one car and the simple objective of fixing it and flogging it. That’s it. And that’s all it needs to be, because it works.
If it didn’t work, we wouldn’t be here, writing about season 16 of the hit show. It’s become a household name, such is the show’s popularity. Even managing to pull in partners and other folk who aren’t even all that interested in cars. That’s impressive. But with a winning, informative, engaging format, how could it not work? We can’t wait for the next series to air. And we imagine you’re pretty excited too. To further whet your wheeling and dealing whistle, here is a sneak peek of some of the cars (but not all) coming up in the new series, which launches at 9pm, 31st August on the Discovery Channel.
1969 Datsun Sports 2000
The series opens with this gorgeous little Datsun roadster. However, there is a lot of work for Ant to do before the car can realise its full potential. Thankfully, being a dry state car, there isn’t much in the way of rust to deal with. However, the mechanicals aren’t so good. As such, the suspension gets a rebuild, the brakes are renewed and upgraded from an unlikely source along with a load of other little jobs. This is a proper ‘nuts and bolts’ rejuvenation.
2001 Audi S4 Avant
You might think the Audi S4 is a modern car, but in reality, it’s nudging twenty years of age, and as such, is prime fodder for Mike and Ant. This all wheel-drive, bi-turbo V6 monster is the last word in go faster wagons, but only once Ant has worked his magic. A leaking valve cover, and a new timing and serpentine belt may sound simple – but this is German engineering, and as such, proves to be a proper workout for our man Ant.
2004 Mazdaspeed MX-5
The Mazdaspeed version of the MX-5 was a rare beast. Available for just two years, this version was different from the rest in that it came with a turbocharger. The MX-5 has always been a riot, but with forced induction at play, Mazda took it to another level. This one though, is a bit tired. As such, Ant has to remove the gearbox to repair seals, fit a new clutch, build a new baffle box and fit electronic boost control amongst other things. Busy times!
2001 Saab 9-3 Viggen
We love an old Saab here at Car & Classic, so it’s nice to see a 9-3 ragtop getting the Wheeler Dealers treatment (our editor used to have one). This 9-3 is no ordinary example though, it’s a Viggen, which means it’s a full-on performance version. This one, however, needs some love. As such, we see Ant sort the body out, fix a coolant leak, fix the head gasket and sort the tired suspension out. Once done, this jet-fighter inspired machine is, frankly, spectacular.
1991 Nissan 300ZX
The Nissan 300ZX was sleek, it was sexy and it was fast. It was also a technical masterclass, but one that proves to be something of a nightmare for Ant. As such, he has to remove the engine, overhaul the emissions kit, source and fit new wheels and diagnose and fit a new HICAS (rear wheel steering) system. It’s a lot of work indeed, but this car is worth the effort, as they’re getting thin on the ground now. Plus, the Wheeler Dealer team can’t back out of a challenge, can they?